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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Is it a hoax?

Clearly I've taken my eye off the ball these last few months. Probably I've been distracted by the fun and games occasioned by the discovery that the data underpinning an article published in Science by two American political scientists was probably faked. It was even more delicious when it turned out that the senior author was technically blameless because he had never seen the data or had anything to do with the nitty-gritty of the study.

While all this was going on I missed an amusing episode more or less in our own backyard - well, at least closer than UCLA. Hat tip to Clémentine Beauvais for this blog on a Sokal like hoax perpetrated on the French sociology journal Sociétés. 

It is not, I should confess, a journal I would normally read as under the editorship of Michel Maffesoli it epitomizes all the worst aspects of French cultural post-modern sociology BS. Le Monde has a report here and the ever reliable Crooked Timber also covered the scandal.

Now here's the thing. As I was going into my office the other day my next door neighbour asked me whether I had seen the latest edition of Sociology. I hadn't. He suggested that I might like to look at the lead article: "A Sociologist Walks into a Bar (and Other Academic Challenges): Towards a Methodology of Humour". It's an extraordinary piece, very, er..., original. And then I had an epiphany. Read the abstract, read it closely. Is somebody havin a laff?

I wonder if the editors of Sociology are feeling a little nervous. Here's The Who singing something appropriate.


Baptiste Coulmont said...

A small comment : his first name is Michel, not Marcel.

Colin said...

Thanks Baptiste. Corrected.

Anonymous said...

On this topic, in English, see http://www.clementinebeauvais.com/eng/2015/03/23/just-kidding-the-latest-academic-hoax-and-its-consequences-for-cultural-studies/